Haggadah Section: Maror

The Rest of the Sedar Plate - and other weird foods!

Gefilte Fish Blessings over the Matzah

When the Rabbis deemed it commendable to eat fish on the Sabbath, Jews became accustomed to eating fish at festive meals like the Passover Seder. The freshwater rivers in Europe offered fish such as carp and pike.

It was customary to make a mixture of chopped fish, stuff it back into the skin of the fish, and boil it. The word gefilte means stuffed in Yiddish.

Maror מָרוֹר Eating the Bitter Herb

In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize bitter slavery turning into sweet freedom by dipping bitter herbs into the sweet charoset.

While nobody wants to eat the bitter herb, the sweet means more when it’s layered over the bitterness.

Z’roah זרוע Shank Bone

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice. It is called the Pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over”. Jews marked their doors with blood from the Pesach so God knew to pass over the houses when casting plagues upon our oppressors.

It became ritual to eat the lamb offered as the Pesach or Passover sacrifice. We would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. Tonight we are purposely avoiding lamb during our Seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – but we honor the tradition by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs.

Koreich כּוֹרֵךְ Making the Sandwich

Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery. It's also commonly viewed as a reminder of the brick and mortar of the buildings that were constructed by the Jewish slaves. Adding the mixture to some bitter herbs reminds us that in life there is a balance of both sweetness and the bitterness, the good and the bad (and the ugly.)

{{We eat bitter herbs, charoset and matzah}}

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Passover Guide

Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
to all of your questions.

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